I placed the IMBD review ratings (the same source that’s being selectively drawn from to create a semblance of “empirical evidence” about the worthiness of the film) into my “Wisdom of the Commons”’ spreadsheet and thee is no doubt that THE VAST OF NIGHT sorely tests the portion of the audience that reacts with intense negativity to matters of pace or subject matter or tone (these seem to be the three major aspects of a film that trigger the 3-2-1 rosters from my selected reading of their reviews—sometimes, of course, it’s all three of these areas that produce such intense negativity.)
A sizable portion of folks cannot handle a slow pace—they will deflect by insisting that they do, of course, but the tone that emerges in their choice of words about films that don’t create enough action (or a certain type of suspense) within the first 5-10 minutes is a dead giveaway.
Oddly enough, the critics—who usually have to see tons of films as part of their “perk” for such a vocation and are quite often withering when it comes to pacing issues (though they seem more upset if the third act goes slightly south as well, meaning that the ten minutes they missed in the middle due to snoozing because the pace lulled them to sleep and they missed a couple things that would explain the third act...and they don’t want to take the time to see the damn thing AGAIN just to make the review more conscientious...)
—Sharp break here, because a long, parenthetical sentence is a bad thing to foist off on readers in the age of ADHD...
The critics actually love this film (84 metascore at Metacritic) and their enthusiasm (and easy access on Amazon Prime) is what brought me to it in the first place.
The WOTC (Wisdom Of The Commons) data suggests that the film is too low-key to garner intense love (low “10” hype as opposed to “1” dismissal). Its closest pattern in the list of about 150 films I’ve entered thus far (I have to be in the right “mood” for data entry these days!) is with INHERENT VICE, another critical darling with pacing and logic issues.
All of which proves that it’s difficult indeed to objectify subjectivity, but if we are going to do so we should try to use the full spectrum of the data available to us, not just one end of it.